parents

GROUP THERAPY: 'Am I disadvantaging my children?'

Alana House.

by ALANA HOUSE

We had parent-teacher meetings last week, where it was suggested my kids spend more time on the computer.

This was a tricky one because I’d prefer them to spend less. Their current exposure is limited to the occasional session of Mathletics or Literacy Planet. And, while they wait for each other to start/finish their swimming lessons, they might get 10-minutes on an iPad game.

And that’s it. No iPhone. No iPod. No DS. No laptop. No game consoles.

I think computers steal childhoods. So I intend to keep my kids away from them for as long as possible.

I want them to read. Actual books with pages, not Kindles.

I want them to play board games, not Playstation ones. (Their delight at being introduced to Scrabble this week was so divine.)

I want them to play real sports, not Wii.

I want them to paint with brushes, not “share” on Instagram (especially after reading this story on ivillage).

Old school or new school- what type of parent are you?

I want them to have a rich imaginary lives, unassisted by the virtual world.

Critics insist I’m disadvantaging them, that they will be “left behind”. But I don’t believe them.

I think I’m putting them ahead, in so many ways. I reckon those technical skills can be picked up pretty fast, when they’re really needed. In the meantime, my children’s creativity is being given a chance to thrive.

Just look at me, the 45-year-old luddite, working in the digital world.

And I hope that keeping technology at a distance will protect them – for just that little bit longer – from the ugly side of the internet, the bullying, the bitchiness, the tween sexualisation.

What do you think? Am I denying my children the advantages of a digital education?

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